Last week I wrote about James Craigie’s legacy of an avenue of trees to the city of Timaru.
Not only was he an involved and practical man about town he was also very successful man and, in time, became a very generous benefactor to his adopted home of Timaru.
Passionately interested in the Arts, he was an enthusiastic admirer of Robert Burns and was at one-time regarded as New Zealand's leading authority on Burns, in fact, Craigie was an Overseas Vice President of the Robert Burns World Federation.
Craigie provided funds to have a statute of Robert Burns erected in the Timaru Botanic Gardens.
I took a wander through the gardens to find Mr Burns and there he was, standing right inside the main gates against a backdrop of green trees where he has been since he was put there on 19th May, 1913. The phrase ‘The Largest Soul in All the British Isles’ is on the plinth and shows the regard with which Robert Burns was held in by James Craigie.
Upon his death, Craigie donated a C.F. Goldie painting entitled "Memories" to the people of Timaru. The painting can now be seen at the Aigantighe Art Gallery in Wai-iti Road, Timaru.
As well as gifts or Art and Trees, he provided the chimes for the Timaru Town Clock in 1913. This was initially hung in the Chief Post Office but in 1933 it was moved to the Timaru Council Building, which had been constructed during Craigie's tenure as Mayor.
The Statue is worth seeing as part of a walk around the gardens and if seeing the famous poets effigy doesn’t raise your spirits the beautiful late summer flower displays nearby might do the trick. The Dahlia beds, Herbaceous borders and rows of sweet peas or looking fabulous right now, they won’t be there for long, autumn approaches bringing its own beauty.
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